On May 1st three american art students decided to jump the barriers surrounding Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds piece at the Tate modern’s Turbine hall. This action was in protest against the barrier, against the original intentions of the work being inhibited by health and safety (originally museum visitors were to walk on the seeds), to support the release of Ai Weiwei by the Chinese government, and promote freedom of speech and art. The biggest surprise in the video comes when dozens of other museum members joined the three students in a spontaneous group protest. Now that’s power to the people! Watch the full video after the jump!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard about the arrest of prominent Chinese artists and activist Ai WeiWei by the Chinese Government. Ai Wei Wei and dozens of bloggers and artists were arrested earlier in April for “inciting subversion of state power,” a catch-all term used to jail anyone critical of Communist Party rule. Apparently The government is concerned that activists want to launch a “jasmine revolution” similar to the protests taking place in the Middle East.
Yesterday NPR released a great story about graffiti popping up all over China supporting the artist and demanding for his release. Street art is at its best when used to expose corruption. Taking your cause to the streets is one of the only ways to let your voice be heard In a country where the government won’t give a legitimate platform to its citizens. Lets hope that more people stand up to the government and demand that not just Ai Wei Wei but all political prisoners are released and that an open discussion can begin between the Chinese government and the countries 1.4 Billion residents.
Listen and read the full story on NPR.
Beijing-based activist-critic-curator-artist Ai Weiwei has survived internal bleeding just last year from police brutality for uncovering scandals circling the Sichuan earthquake student casualties (but really, China isn’t that scary, until you try to do something they don’t like), and unveiled his new installation at the Tate Modern. Entitled “Sunflower Seeds,” the piece is a corner to corner spread of porcelain sunflower seeds all individually hand-fired hand-painted, and all one of a kind. View the rest of the post to see the installation along with other works by Ai Weiwei.